What Should A Negotiator Do AFTER The Negotiation Is Over?

by drjim on June 19, 2015

Just getting to the end of a negotiation is only the start

Just getting to the end of a negotiation is only the start
Image Credit: Daniel Mitchell

Yea! The negotiation is over and done with (or at least this meeting that is a part of the negotiations is done with) and the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques have all been put away. Now you can go home, put your feet up, and relax until the next meeting. Hold on – it turns out that things really don’t work that way. Reaching the end in a negotiation is when the work really starts. Do you know what you need to be doing now?

What Was Achieved?

The most important thing to realize is that you need to get together with your negotiating team as quickly as possible after the negotiation is over. Our memory of what happened starts to slip very quickly so speed is of the essence. One of the most important things to discuss is a review of whether or not you got what you wanted.

If you had taken the time to define your objectives before the negotiations started, then you’ll be well positioned to evaluate the outcome. If it turns out that you were unable to meet your objectives, then this is the time to delve into why that happened. Your goal needs to be to learn from what happened and improve your odds of meeting your objectives the next time that you negotiate.

What Happened?

In every negotiation, there will be both good things that happen and bad things that happen. What you and your team are going to have to do is to sit down and come up with answers to questions such as what did you do that worked out? What went wrong? What could have been handled better?

Your goal in doing all of this is to learn from what happened. Your goal has to be to use this knowledge to improve how you go about negotiating. You’ll also want to talk to your negotiating team and get their feedback on how things went – what were their impressions?

How Have Your Assumptions Changed?

When we walk into a negotiation, we bring along our set of initial assumptions. These are effectively our best guess at where we think the other side is coming from and what they’d like to be able to achieve by negotiating with us. These assumptions are not always correct.

You may need to be open to letting your assumptions go. At the very least, you will probably find yourself having to either modify or eliminate some or all of them. It will be the additional information that you have picked up during the negotiations that will guide you as you evaluate your assumptions. Keep in mind that one of the worst things that a negotiator can do is to hold on to assumptions that are wrong!

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

It is a very natural tendency to want to take a break once either a complete principled negotiation or at least a part of it has wrapped up. It turns out that this is exactly the point-in-time that you need to be at the top of your game – there’s work to be done here!

The very first thing that you need to do is to meet with your negotiating team and review what has been achieved by your participation in the negotiations. How does this align with the objectives that you had mapped out before the negotiations started? Next you need to review how the discussions went. What was good about how things unfolded and what did you think was bad? Was there anything that you could have done differently? Finally, based on what has happened so far, how have your initial assumptions had to be changed?

I have often found that I’ve learned the most from my negotiations after they are over. It’s only when I have time to reflect on what has happened that I am able to understand how things fit together to lead me to the results that were achieved. The next time that you are involved in a negotiation, when it’s over take the time to review what you’ve learned and you just might be surprised!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How much time should you allocate to reviewing how a negotiation went?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’m sure that you’ve been involved in a negotiation in the past in which after you made it though all of the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that were being used, the thought of “who’s actually in control of this negotiation” ran through your head at some point in time. I know that this has happened to me many times. What you’d really like the answer to that question to be is “you!” Now we need to determine how you can both take and retain control of your next negotiation.

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